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Remarks by Director General Yukiya Amano at New Year Reception

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the reception.

(As prepared for delivery)

Dear friends and colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Happy New Year!

As the work of the IAEA begins to gather pace in this 60th anniversary year, let me begin by thanking all of you – our Member State representatives – and the Agency’s staff, for your support in our drive to improve the health, prosperity and security of the world.

Our opening anniversary celebrations last September helped to remind us of the great achievements of this organization in the past six decades.

From the 60 countries which ratified the IAEA Statute in 1957 – the year it entered into force – we have grown to an organisation with 168 Member States that spans the globe.

Our pride in our past achievements is matched by our determination to do everything we can to meet the real and pressing needs of our Member States today.

Our mission is Atoms for Peace and Development. I hope the Agency will continue to be identified by this motto even after the 60th anniversary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since January 2016, the Agency has been verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

We are helping developing countries to work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in health, energy, food and agriculture, industry and many other areas by transferring nuclear technologies. Highlights last year included combating the Zika virus, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. Cancer control in developing countries remained an important focus.

Construction started on new laboratory buildings at Seibersdorf under the ReNuAL project.

Last year was an important one for nuclear security, with the CPPNM Amendment finally coming into force and our successful ministerial conference attracting very strong participation.

Construction of the IAEA LEU bank storage facility in Kazakhstan got underway.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is witnessing changes in many areas related to nuclear science and technology.

Agreement on the JCPOA changed the course on Iran from confrontation to cooperation.

However, proliferation risks are increasing generally due to globalisation and wider access to knowledge about nuclear technology.

Both the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change have strong relevance to our activities. More developing countries are building their capacity to use nuclear technologies to meet their development needs. South-south cooperation is increasing. The centre of expansion in nuclear power has shifted to developing countries.

The increasing risks of terrorism make our work in nuclear security more relevant and urgent.

All of these developments mean we must remain alert and ready to deal with the unexpected.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The one prediction that we can confidently make about 2017 is that we will continue to face challenges in all areas of our work. Helping to meet those global challenges is our primary objective.

We will continue to use our verification expertise to help make the JCPOA sustainable. It has already led to a significant strengthening of nuclear verification in Iran, giving us more access to information and sites. The commitment of all parties to the agreement remains essential.

I continue to be very concerned about the nuclear programme of the DPRK, especially after the two nuclear tests conducted last year. The Agency remains ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the DPRK nuclear issue by resuming our verification activities once a political agreement is reached among countries concerned.

Our role in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs deserves to be better known, as does the value of the peaceful nuclear technologies which we make available. I will work to ensure greater understanding of our work on assisting sustainable development and I count on your support.

An opportunity to focus attention on this will be provided by the first International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme, which will take place in Vienna from May 30th to June 1st.

Completing ReNuAL – on time and within budget – is a key priority. It is vital to our efforts to establish, and maintain, a sustainable infrastructure for the transfer of nuclear technologies.

Nuclear power makes a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy security. We will broaden our support to countries wishing to introduce nuclear power, or to expand existing nuclear power programmes.

The IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century will start in Abu Dhabi on October 30th.

We will move ahead with the LEU bank. The Storage Facility is expected to be commissioned and ready to receive LEU in the second half of this year.

Through the implementation of the 2011 IAEA Action Plan, nuclear safety has been strengthened throughout the world. As requested by the General Conference, we will continue to build upon the Action Plan and identify future priorities.

The outcome of last month’s ministerial conference on nuclear security will assist us in preparing the next IAEA Nuclear Security Plan, in close consultation with Member States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you know, Member States will soon start considering the Agency’s Programme and Budget for 2018-2019. The draft budget document was made available to you all this morning.

We remain very conscious of the financial constraints in many Member States. We continue to implement efficiency measures to ensure optimal use of our limited resources.

Nevertheless, new and growing demand from Member States for Agency services will require a modest real increase in our Budget. Such an increase is also needed to prevent “zero sum game” competition for resources among different Agency programmes.  

In the past eight years, we have significantly increased the proportion of women in senior positions. But more needs to be done in this area. I encourage all Member States to redouble their efforts to make well-qualified women aware of the great opportunities available at the Agency. For my part, I recognise the need for better representation of women at very senior level as vacancies arise.  

Following the closure of the process for nominations for the post of Director General, I hope that the Board will make a decision on my next term of office in a timely manner. I remain very grateful for the confidence placed in me by all Member States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 2017 and in future years, the Agency will continue to focus on delivering concrete results in all areas of our work.

We must be creative and able to respond quickly to emerging needs ­– as we demonstrated after outbreaks of Ebola and Zika virus disease in recent years.

We will remain true to our very broad mandate and will implement it in a balanced manner, in the interests of all Member States.

Thank you.



Last update: 16 Feb 2018


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